It's a Wonderful Life

It seemed weird to watch what most people think of as a Christmas movie in February. Frank Capra directed It's a Wonderful Life in 1949. In Ebert's essay, he writes that, "The best and worst things that ever happened to "It's a Wonderful Life" are that it fell out of copyright protection and into the shadowy no-man's-land of the public domain. Because the movie is no longer under copyright, any television station that can get its hands on a print of the movie can show it, at no cost, as often as it wants to. And that has led in the last decade to the rediscovery of Frank Capra's once-forgotten film, and its elevation into a Christmas tradition. PBS stations were the first to jump on the bandwagon in the early 1970s, using the saga of the small-town hero George Bailey as counter-programming against expensive network holiday specials" (The Great Movies, 229).

I never knew that this movie was not intended to be a Christmas special, but it gained popularity after it feel out of copyright. I usually don't like this movie at all during Christmas. It feels really contrived and cliched, and I'm not a big fan of movies with happy, neat endings. For some reasons, however, watching it outside of Christmas made it seem better. I saw more of the humor and charm in the movie, and I was more interested in the characters. I felt less annoyed by the ending this time. It seemed to fit better with the whole story, and it felt natural. I must be too distracted to ever focus on this movie during the holidays, and then the end seems really cliched and annoying, since I hadn't seen any of the plot development.

I think most of the times that I have seen this movie before and not liked it, I was critical of how unrealistic it seemed. I've struggled with depression, and I know first hand that there isn't much that can pull you out of it. Having been through a lot of difficult times, I always was so irritated that everything magically worked out in the end, which I didn't see happening to me or those suffering around me. I felt...let down, I guess. Like, "So what about my friends and family who are going through hard times?" Watching it now, I was able to look at it as more of just a story, and in this story, everything works out at the end, and that's ok.  There are a lot of stories where things don't work out in the end. This was just one man's story in particular.

I feel like there isn't a lot to say about this movie, but that could be because I'm distracted by my perpetual migraine and the Puppy Bowl. I think pretty much everyone has seen this at some point and has an opinion on it. I do have to say that it's worth watching it during the year and not thinking about it as a "holiday" movie. It really gains a lot, I thought, in doing this. It just happens to take place during Christmas, like Die Hard, and it's not so much about Christmas. If I felt better, I'd write more, but I'm feeling pretty off from a new medication I am trying for my headaches. If you have this movie laying around, get it out and watch it - it wasn't really meant to be a holiday special, and it works so much better on it's own.

Have you seen It's a Wonderful Life? Share your thoughts in the commnents!

Ebert's Great Movie Essay on It's a Wonderful Life